Review: I had seen newer versions of the book a few times in used bookstores and at my kid’s gymnastics class, so when I was able to get a copy basically free, I took it. It starts off in a way that makes me think it would be a good gift for any mother who feels like she’s struggling with motherhood or is unsure of her worth now that her primary responsibility is taking care of her kids. I like the writing style, agree with most of the authors’ assertions, and think they do a really good job at validating motherhood. What surprised me was that with no real indication anywhere on the cover or first few pages of the book, it transforms into a full-on religious book several pages in. There are whole chapters that do little but talk about God and Bible passages. As a Catholic/Christian mother, I don’t really have a problem reading a Christian mothering book, but I was a little disappointed to learn that what started out as a nice universally applicable book about the challenges of motherhood, was actually not the sort of thing I’d be comfortable handing out at baby showers unless I was really sure about the spiritual leanings of the recipient. I will likely be donating this book. However, there were a couple passages that I thought were worth saving. One was a classified ad for motherhood (pg. 31):
“SITUATIONS VACANT: HOUSEWIFE/MOTHER
Applications are invited for the position of manager to a lively team of four demanding individuals.
The successful applicant will be required to perform the following functions: companion, counselor, financial manager, buying officer, teacher, nurse, chef, nutritionist, decorator, cleaner, driver, child care supervisor, social secretary, and recreation officer. Applicants must have unlimited energy and a strong sense of responsibility. They must be independent, self-motivated and able to work in isolation without supervision, able to work under stress, and adaptable enough to handle new developments in the life of the team, including emergencies and crises. They must be able to communicate with people of all ages, including teachers, doctors, business people, dentists, teenagers and children. A good imagination, sensitivity, warmth, and an understanding of people is necessary as the successful applicant will also be responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of the team.
HOURS: All waking moments and a 24-hour shift when necessary.
BENEFITS: No guaranteed holidays, no sick leave or maternity leave. No workers’ compensation.
PAY: None. Allowances by arrangement from time to time with the income-earning member of the team. Successful applicant may be allowed/required to hold second job in addition to the one advertised here.”
Maybe it’s just because I have a cold and would rather read curled up on the couch than play with my preschooler at the moment, but I also thought this short poem was worth remembering.
“For life is short, the years rush past.
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away.
There are no more games to play.
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear—
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands once busy now lie still.
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I might go back and do
The little things you asked me to.
(Personal Rating: 7/10)